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Title: The internationalisation of foreign fashion retailers into the UK - identifying the motives, methods and operational challenges
Author(s): Moore, Christopher M.
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Fashion companies consistently prove to be the most prolific and successful of the international retailers. Success is attributed to small format size, single brand emphasis and economies of format replication. These factors contain the costs, and risks, of foreign market expansion. Evidence from the British fashion market attests to the aggressive expansion policies of foreign fashion retailers who, in the past decade, have disrupted the competitive equilibrium of the UK market. This study examines the motives, methods and management challenges that foreign fashion retailers face, and adopt, as they establish operations within the UK. Drawing from the wider international business and international retailing literature, seven research propositions direct the first, positivist research stage. Via a mail survey, sent to all foreign fashion retailers with stores in the UK, the study identifies that these are proactive internationalists, drawn to the UK to exploit the opportunities afforded from niche markets and brands with significant consumer appeal. The research also notes specific differences between designer, specialist and general fashion retailers in terms of motivations, entry methods, operating strategies, critical success factors and the problems they encounter. The second phase of the research is interpretivist in nature and examines the actual process of internationalising fashion retail operations within the UK from the perspective of seven case companies. The study concludes that the foreign entrants remain within the British market for reasons of exceptional profitability, reputation and consumer and competitor intelligence. The central contribution of the study resides in the identification and analysis of the facets integral to the actual process of successfully internationalising fashion retail operations; notably the incremental development of effective central and local management structures, the clear demarcation of management decision-making responsibility, and the staged development of product ranging and development, brand positioning and distribution planning policies.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Management Education Centre

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